Dear Members and Friends,
As 2020 draws to a close, we pause to reflect on the tragedy that unfolded this year and the lives lost to the pandemic. Our community was impacted with development projects delayed and lives and businesses disrupted. Against this backdrop, it’s with a renewed sense of optimism that I write this letter, knowing that the resilience of people supported by proven science will help motivate us to work together to achieve our mission. I have appreciated hearing our members’ stories and am encouraged by the progress that we’ve made, having found creative ways to continue our collective work.
It will take time to find our way back to a new sense of normal. For our part, events will continue to be virtual well into 2021, and yet the work continues. For example, a new Project Call for FHE-focused proposals will be released early in the new year. The NextFlex Technology Hub remains active, particularly as we work on DoD projects and other healthcare-related endeavors.
Two weeks ago, the NextFlex team gave an outstanding update to the Governing Council where we reported results for 2020. Highlights include securing the second Cooperative Agreement in June and the hiring of a new Technology Manager, Nick Morris, to guide technology and manufacturing roadmapping activities in collaboration with members. In addition, NextFlex contracted 12 PC 5.0 project call projects and published 68 technical project reports. That is a lot of output from the member community, and a lot of learning overall.
The Engineering and Fab teams reported tremendous technical achievements on high impact projects that broke new ground in solving FHE manufacturing challenges in the areas of chip attach, wireless charging, tuning printed antennae and laser patterning. With these achievements NextFlex is entering a new phase in our growth. The Technology Hub is now producing fully functional products as a turnkey, low-volume facility, complete with design, rapid prototype, print, programming, and testing capability all under one roof. Manufacturing processes are sophisticated and automated, the print, assembly, and testing equipment is running smoothly and yields are improving. It’s amazing how far we’ve come in a short time.
Gaining access to this collective learning, along with the body of work amassed under the Project Call program is a primary benefit of membership with NextFlex. I encourage you to join us on this journey as we move to higher technology and manufacturing readiness levels as a community.
Malcolm J. Thompson, Ph.D.